I became aware not so long ago that to some degree I read so much, learn so much, & question so many impossible things because of course I want to but also because to the extent that I do, I am making for myself an allowance primarily for self-preservation. Such busyness and occupation allows me a reason to remain uninvolved; uninvested and emotionally safe from harm. It allows me to leave past hurts unexamined, unacknowledged, and in some cases unforgiven.
There has been a recurrent theme in the writing I have encountered lately, with sources as diverse as Kierkegaard, Pieper and Hauerwas all speaking to the importance of being truthful in one’s own mind about the events of the past. I have taken this to heart and am taking myself to task on it. I found the following turn of the phrase by Kierkegaard as striking as any:
“It is the duty of the human understanding to understand that there are things which it cannot understand, and what those things are. Human understanding has vulgarly occupied itself with nothing but understanding, but if it would only take the trouble to understand itself at the same time it would simply have to posit the paradox.”